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By Beth Kaszuba

A chance to commune with nature. Trails we traverse to get fit. Lots of space for cooped-up kids to blow off steam. Whatever your reason for visiting, state and local parks offer us a lot.

So why not give back while you boost your mental and physical health? Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is always looking for volunteers to maintain state parks.

If you’re into hiking, you can help create and maintain trails, improve wildlife habitats or clean and stabilize stream banks.

Handy or have a green thumb? Volunteers are also needed to plant flowers, repair footbridges, make recreation areas more accessible and install park signs, among other tasks.

Serious about conservation — and social, too? Join a “friends group” or create one with like-minded buddies.

Lace up your hikers and hit the trails:

Healthier environment, healthier you.

Hint: A quick search of environmental blogs will help you plan a fun, successful cleanup.

Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine students dig deep into community service, pre-pandemic.

Gather the gang for a cleaner neighborhood

Community cleanups are a fun way to make your little part of the world prettier — and safer. Because critters who carry disease don’t like clean neighborhoods.

Just pick a priority, like litter collection, flower planting or river cleanup, and rally your troops. (And be sure to get any necessary permits or permissions.)

Don’t forget supplies

  • Trash bags
  • Shovels and rakes
  • Gloves
  • Wheelbarrows
  • Gardening materials 
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